Category Archives: Pubs

Review: Beer tasting at The Duke’s Head with The Beer Boutique

Duke's Head Sign

Duke’s Head Sign

Have you noticed how popular alcohol has become? Everywhere you go these days you see people quaffing drinks of different hues, textures, colours and tastes. And not just in Putney but all over London. No doubt folk in others parts of the UK think it’s just another “London thing” but we wouldn’t be surprised to find folk back home take to it just as quickly as we fancy lar-de-dar city folks have.

Anyway, with this in mind, it was with a joyous heart and a spring in our step that The Putney Paper headed to The Duke’s Head on Thursday evening for a spot of sophisticated beer tasting courtesy of those fine chaps at The Beer Boutique.

For those not aware (do you live under rocks?) the Beer Boutique is a lovely little shop just down the Upper Richmond Road near the Fresh fish and chip shop (if you don’t know where it is by now you’ve no chance). It aims to offer a lovely selection of taste ales, lagers and bitters, from exotic locations around the world, and a few brewed here in good ol’ Blighty.

So, back to the Duke’s Head, and our two amiable hosts Mark and Jonno, the latter wearing a marvelously colourful jumper, took The Putney Paper, and a good 25-30 others, on a beer-tasting treat of beers from the UK, US, Belgium and Germany. Some courses were accompanied with ‘paired foods’, such as cheese crackers or spicy pastrami, and we learnt a little about each beer and how it had been made as we went. Lovely stuff.

This was great fun and what was also good was the sheets we were given to note down our thoughts on each beer. While this started with good intentions, and notes such as “ a pleasing aroma, reminds me of honey” and so forth, once the fourth beer arrived pen use on paper became more liberal and comments such as “tasty, give me another one” soon started appearing, followed by weird and wonderful doodles, comments and graffiti.

This was part of the charm, as while wine tasting still retains that air of snobbery and silly over-the-top phrases – “yes, I’m getting a hint of damp towel and badger sweat” – beer tasting seemed a much more informal, yet no-less-educational affair. We’d definitely do it again, and if you’re in the need for some fancy beers, be it for a gift, an ‘occasion’, or just as a break from the usual fizzy lager in the supermarkets, we couldn’t recommend the chaps in The Beer Boutique enough to help guide you on your way. Roll on the next sessions chaps, we’ll be there…

Also, as an aside, The Wolsey Room in the Duke’s Head is a bloody lovely little venue, – well worth investigating if you’re after a venue for a small-ish event. Plus some nice views too from the window, as you can see below:

View from Duke's Head Wolsey Room

View from Duke’s Head Wolsey Room

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In praise of…The Jolly Gardeners

There’s so much lovely stuff in and around Putney we’ve decided to start an “In praise of” section to celebrate what makes the area so great. The first lucky location, place, or thing to achieve this honour is one of our favourite pubs, The Jolly Gardeners.

The Jolly Gardeners on Lacy Road

The Jolly Gardeners on Lacy Road.

Situated down Lacy Road past The Coat and Badge, its location is not the most inspiring, as it sits among residential houses on a quiet side street away from the hustle and bustle of the high-street.

However, this actually works to its advantage as not only does it mean many are perhaps unaware of a second pub past the Coat and Badge, so it never seems to get intolerably busy, but there’s a nice sense of escaping the high-street and relaxing in a quieter pub, including its small but cosy beer garden situated at the front of the pub.

Inside is equally nice, with the standard wooden-pub interior but some nice big, Victorian-gentlemen chairs – think Holmes and Waston – and a fire, perfect for a post-shopping or pre-match pint.

The food is also good, better than The Coat and Badge in our opinion, and priced at the usual £8-13 depending on your choice. We can definitely recommend the burger, particularly with the various mustards on offer from the pub, a nice touch you don’t always get. The bar staff are also friendly and up for a chat which is always welcome too. It can get quite busy when Fulham are playing, but that’s to be expected, and if you avoid that crush it’s usually easy enough to grab a seat.

While winter is still hanging around waiting for Spring to arrive, it’s certainly worth popping in, although sadly, and a bizarrely, they’ve stopped serving their lovely spiced cider too. Shame, as we could ‘appily sit in there and drink it all day. Apply – happily, geddit, geddit…ah forget it.

You can follow them on Twitter here.

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Filed under Alcohol, Food, Good Putney, Pubs, The Jolly Gardeners

The Prince of Wales, a rainy review

The pointlessly incessant rain of the last few days has at least given The Putney Paper the chance to sample some pubs over the weekend, with The Prince of Wales on Upper Richmond Road – in the direction of East Putney tube – the latest pub to be sampled for the first time.

It’s an interesting one as, perched right on the road,  it looks as if sitting outside would be a fairly rubbish business, drowned out by all the passing traffic and the uninspiring sight of a bunch of office blocks across from you, but actually it was quite nice, watching the comings and goings of the Putney people, particularly once the torrential rained returned.

Inside, it’s very nice, with – somewhat oddly – hundreds of playing cards scattered across the roof, falling out of a top hat the like Slash from Guns ‘n’ Roses would wear, but otherwise nice leather sofas and wooden fittings throughout. It wasn’t cheap, £9.50 for two fancy ciders,but you come to expect that these days really.

The food menu looked good but we didn’t get a chance to try it, so a good reason to go back as the burger, chips and salad sounded tasty and was a reasonable £11, which is fairly normal for a London boozer these days.

You can follow The Prince of Wales on Twitter, although they don’t seem to update that often.

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The cider pubs of Putney

With the sun doing its best to appear whenever it can (we can’t expect too much now can we?) it’s high-time to get yourself to one of Putney’s many lovely pubs to soak up the rays. The drink of choice is of course cider, far less heavy and far tastier than lager on these days, but the question(s) are where, and what drink.

Top of the pile is The Duke’s Head which serves the fantastically tasty and refreshing Rekorderlig Cider, both apple and winter fruits flavours, which served over ice are delightful. Even better, the pub has no issues or qualms about you taking the drink and sitting outside, on the pavement in the sun, enjoying the Thames flowing by, which makes a change from most pubs and there lines on the floor and bouncers patrolling for any infraction of the extent of the area you can drink in.

The Green Man, a nice pub at the top of Putney Hill, also serves these same ciders which are definitely the drink du jour, while The Coat and Badge sadly only really has Magners (which used to be the cider, but now is nowhere – there’s method in the magners, ridiculous campaign) although we may have spied some Weston’s hidden away too.

So readers, help us fill in the blanks, where are the best locations for summer drinking in Putney – ciders, ales, lagers and so forth. Let us know below!

Well worth trying

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Filed under Alcohol, Good Putney, Pubs, The Coat and Badge, The Duke's Head, The Green Man, Weather

The Fox and Hounds, a renovation review

A disappointingly rainy Sunday seems the perfect time to do some retrospective reviewing, noticeable The Fox and Hounds at the main crossroads by the station, seeing as it recently underwent a large renovation.

The pub prior to this was a fairly average, Wetherspoons-esque  pub with a normal selection of beers and so on and some so-so food and seems to be the most sport-orientated pub in Putney, with anything from gold to football to cricket on the TVs. It had a fairly mundane appearance, hardly eye-catching, but nothing horrendous, and was just there going about its business.

The work now, though, sees it looking somewhat faux-Dickensian, with ominous and dark arches across the front and silvery white lines drawn in to its panels  and over the door to create the illusion of pillars. Makes you wonder if the owners are trying to catch the eye of more people as they leave the station as the first place they pop in to for a pint before a Fulham game or of an evening post-work.

Furthermore, the funny sun cartoon on the side of the building is gone, replaced by a rather good drawing of a Fox posing as a masthead to a pub to escape the hounds, of which The Putney Paper is a big fan of, it must be said. As for the quality of the food and drink instead, that’s to be discovered, as it seems unlikely much has changed, but we’ll certainly endeavour to pop in and try it out, to bring you our thoughts.

In the mean time, if you’ve been and have your own thoughts, let us know below, and if we get some interesting thoughts, on this post or any others, we’ll start to collate them to on a new page on the site.

The newly revamped Fox and Hounds

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Meat in a bowl is not a pie…The Coat and Badge

On a pleasant Sunday afternoon The Putney Paper and its paramour ventured to The Coat and Badge, a fine pub in the heart of Putney where we have partaken of sustenance on more than one occasion, and never found it wanting.

On this most recent visit I selected the steak and kidney pie, being denied fish and chips as “there was none left” – a fair excuse, I suppose.

However, when the waitress presented the aforementioned dish, it was most disappointing to find that the chef at the pub interprets a pie as meat in a bowl with a piece of pastry placed, yes placed on the top. This is not a pie. A pie is all pastry, filled with meat.

They might as well advertise it as a “Bowl of Meat with chips and peas” (and not many peas at that, either).

I think next time we’ll go elsewhere if the fish is all gone – clearly other Putney residents are aware of the excellence of this dish compared to all the others. You live and learn…

You can't eat a metal bowl

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Filed under Bad Putney, Food, Pubs, The Coat and Badge